PSA’s Alice Quinn to Step Down, Why a Book Tour Is Harder Than a Political Campaign, and More


Every day Poets & Writers Magazine scans the headlines—from publishing reports to academic announcements to literary dispatches—for all the news that creative writers need to know. Here are today’s stories.

“In politics, one’s skin must be impenetrable to insult and even the occasional knife in the back. But sitting behind a pile of books at an Authors Night, watching people pick up your book as if it’s a piece of spongy fruit at the market, is sheer torture.” At the New York Times, novelist and former Congressman Steve Israel writes about why a book tour is more brutal than a political campaign.

Alice Quinn will step down as executive director of the Poetry Society of America in June. Since joining the organization in 2001, Quinn has spearheaded numerous programs and awards that celebrate and honor poetry, including most recently the Four Quartets Prize and the Anna Rabinowitz Prize. An adjunct professor at Columbia University, Quinn edited Edgar Allan Poe & The Juke-Box: Uncollected Poems, Drafts, and Fragments by Elizabeth Bishop and was the poetry editor of the New Yorker from 1987 to 2007. (New York Times)

The mystery company rumored to have been near an acquisition of Barnes & Noble earlier this year has been revealed to be W. H. Smith, one of the U.K.’s largest book retailers. According to a recent lawsuit by Barnes & Noble, the acquisition—which may have had the potential to transform the struggling bookstore chain—was deliberately sabotaged by Demos Parneros, the company’s recently fired CEO.

Lifetime will produce two original movies based on novels: Pride and Prejudice: Atlanta, a contemporary take on Jane Austen’s early 19th-century classic, featuring an African American cast; and an adaptation of Adriana Trigiani’s 2009 book Very Valentine. (Deadline)

Amazon Books is launching a new podcast. The Amazon Book Review Podcast will feature conversations between Amazon editors and interviews with authors, beginning with John Carreyrou, father-and-son memoirists David Sheff and Nic Sheff, and Kristin Hannah.

And if literary podcasts are your thing, check out the latest episode of Ampersand: The Poets & Writers Podcast, featuring Susan Orlean, Barbara Kingsolver, Richard Powers, and Natasha Trethewey.

“It’s a tricky time to be a writer, because you can be accused of not having enough diversity in your work, but then if you try to have more diversity, you can be accused of cultural appropriation.” Big Little Lies author Liane Moriarty, whose latest novel, Nine Perfect Strangers, is just out from Flatiron Books, talks diversity, #MeToo, and writing about the white middle class. (Guardian)

Japanese author Haruki Murakami is curating an archive at his alma mater, Waseda University in Tokyo. The archive will include drafts of the author’s novels, along with translation work and a massive collection of music. (Seymour Tribune)

“Writing requires strength, discipline, and a tolerance for loneliness.” At Guernica, author Ottessa Moshfegh discusses sadness, the line between sensitivity and sentimentality, and the influence of Nirvana.